Your Test is greater than your Triumph

My recent trip to Goa, India... 

My recent trip to Goa, India... 

In my young wisdom I would often tell people “Life is a test” having no real understanding of what that meant I just thought it sounded deep. “Life is a test” I would tell friends and family members hoping they wouldn’t question this concept any further. The more I have grown the  more this wisdom has become so real to me. It was as if in those earlier days I had prophesied my future understanding. The greater understanding I received; the more I sought to align my life with Jesus Christ; the more test were thrown my way; the greater I had to fight for my life through test and trials.

One of the reasons I love endurance sports like Ironman triathlon and marathon running is because you have to endure over many many hours. Yes you have moments where you are flying and you think you could go on forever, but then you experience these lows where you want to stop and you feel like you can’t  take another step - after all the work all the mental battles and physical trials you reach the glorious finish line and the testing seems like a distant memory to the glory you now stand in. This to me is a parallel to life. We are constantly in this state of pushing for the finish line as Paul writes in Philippians 3:14 “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”

Our culture contradicts this entire train of thought. Someone is often touted as truly blessed when they get a new car, house or job promotion. Most of our breakthroughs are aligned with material possessions, commas in our bank account or changes in our status however scripture sings a different tune. Yes, God lavishes his children with material gifts and possessions but the truly blessed in scripture were the ones that had withstood the most testing. The spiritual titans that had undergone years of hardship and still believed, many were even martyred for their faith. 

What we fail to celebrate is the fact that testing and trials change us in ways no amount of physical riches ever can. Testing forges a new path in our hearts that leads us closer to our Father God. God loves us and is more concerned about how we triumph spiritually versus all the natural riches and possessions. He’d rather press pause on our blessings to see a change in our hearts.Testing is not glamours, we are not going to garner large audiences who are excited to learn how they can embrace the bad stuff that is going on in life. You can not market trials to the masses. No one says “I know you just went through that divorce but girl God birthed a faith in you that is unshakable.” 

I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. We don’t completely understand why God test us and tries us in the ways he does. The enemy even inclines us to curse God while we are going through. But if we just hold on to God through the trial and understand that our rough seasons are shaping us for future glory and know that we are truly blessed because of our undying faith - then we can have joy through the process. 

Jesus himself says God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs (Mathew 5:10). Please hold on. God sees you gripping tighter to him as you are having hell thrown your way - HE SEES YOU AND LOVES YOU. So while you feel like your faith is faltering, that you are not doing everything perfect God’s strength is made complete in your weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

How has God brought you through a test? What is something God birthed in you through a hard time in your life? Share your testimony below so others can be encouraged. If you are in need a prayer click here. 

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under Faith, My Blog.

Update: I am married to Ironman

It has been WAY too long! I miss writing and talking about all thing healthy living food, faith and fitness. It has been a really long 7 months of training in preparation for Ironman Lake Placid. The race is July 27th and I am less than 2 weeks away. As training volume has tapered off and my life has a few more hours I thought I would share some updates and just check in.

I started down the journey to becoming an Ironman in January. Thinking back to that time I was so energetic, bright eyed and bushy tailed! I was pumped. I am still am pumped but I am in much need of a rest. I want to become an Ironman because to finish 140.6 miles means that I had achieved the longest distance in triathlon, the hobby at which I affectionately adore. For years I marveled at people who had finished, it has always been a dream of mine since starting triathlons in 2010. Little did I know the commitment that was required. My life has been taken over by the sport, hence why I said I was “married”. I severely underestimated how much of a commitment it would be. I have sacrificed so much time with friends and family, from projects and work to train. When I am not training I am thinking about training,reading about training, preparing for workouts, buying gear or trying to sleep. As a follower of Christ is has been difficult to spend so much time thinking about my needs 24/7... I admit at times I feel guilty. I am at a point where I am so exhausted and I think my body is fatigue but, my heart is still strong! With less then 2 weeks left until the big day, I am very anxious and totally relieved that all this will soon be over.

Physically I have already exceeded my wildest dreams as far as what my body is capable of doing. I still can't believe how much I have swam, biked and run. Above the physical growth, my spirit has become strong and ready to endure. I have never taken this amount of time and dedicated it solely to one goal., I have this new understanding of what it truly takes to achieve anything huge.

After this long journey comes to an end at the Olympic Oval in Lake Placid, NY I will take an even bigger journey to Goa, India to work for 2 weeks with an organization called Rahab's Rope at preventing human trafficking. Through this training process I have raised funds to go toward this mission. The work that I am going will be the brightest spot in this whole process. To the outside it may look like I am going to India to help, with the funds raised and work I will do. However, I know the trip and being able to share the love of God with people thousands of miles around the globe is going to forever change my heart. It is going to be awesome to take the focus off of me and shine the light on others.

I have major things in store for Paparoxi and I cant wait to share with everyone in the coming months. If you would like to donate it is not too late my deadline is July 21st and you can donate HERE. Please keep me in your prayers! I face so many challenges in the coming weeks but I know it will all work out for God's glory. My Bib Number is 912 and you follow the coverage at Ironman.com on July 27th ,Thank you for continuing to follow and support!

TOP 5 Things I can't wait to do after Ironman:

  1. JUICE Feast – I miss it so much!

  2. Making plans with my loved ones during the weekends

  3. Staying up late and watching Netflix

  4. Working out without a schedule

  5. Sitting still :)

My Blog: "Tri-ing to Live"

So last July I had this crazy idea to actually pursue my dream of doing a full Ironman triathlon. That included a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run in one day under 17 hours.My thoughts: I am not getting any younger, I have stop putting my life of hold for things that “may” happen, I am having a milestone birthday this year. So at 12:03 PM the day after Lake Placid Ironman 2013 I decided to go online and register for the race. Little did I know me and thousands of other people tried doing the same thing, I refreshed my browser a million times and had some pretty stressful moments but at 12:17 PM I was officially registered for Ironman Lake Placid. 

I began my training in January and I am following Triathlon Geek’s ultra distance plan. I enjoy the plan because it gives you options for the intensity level of my workouts which is nice. I gleefully and naively began my training super pumped and cheery only to get a gut check after a month. I took for granted the fact that I have done races in the past and that the training in the past was hard but it was never too much. Full distance Ironman is no joke! This is taking my endurance to a whole new level and bringing me out of my endurance comfort zone. 

Training for this race has really consumed my life, everything is centered around my training, eating and sleeping schedule. I totally underestimated the commitment that it takes to train for this type of race. I have had several shots to my ego during training, a few can barely walk moments and more than enough “WHY DID I SIGN UP FOR THIS” moments but I wouldn't change a thing.

One of the biggest things I have learned since starting is what it truly takes to accomplish a goal. I know I am not at the finish line yet, but to get anything done in life you need to be focused. Yes you should have balance, but when you are on a mission and you see your goal in the horizon you have to put the pedal to the medal and get the work done. 

Secondly, I have learned how to be comfortable in my own skin. In my mind I have this perfect image of how a toned lean triathlete should look like and I had to throw that all away. Since starting I have actually gained weight, and my legs are getting bigger from all the biking. I prefer a certain look, but I had to go with the flow of training. I don’t have time to worry about slight movements in the scale I have to focus on proper nutrition and getting the training done. It has been difficult for me, I feel out of my comfort zone, but I keep seeing the goal in the horizon. 

Lastly, I needed something bigger then a personal achievement to push me through training. A few months ago I applied to a program that would allow me to go to India and work with a community devastated by the ills of human trafficking. I recently got accepted and I my heart is so full thinking about the people I am going to help by raising money and volunteering for this cause. On the days it is hard I think about all those women looking for a new life and how my little contribution can help. 

Well I just wanted to give a little update about me and my training. If you are interested in learning more about the cause and my trip to India please follow the link: https://fundly.com/triathlon-to-stop-trafficking

What is the biggest dream you have ever tried to reach? What have you learned through the process? What would you do differently? Share your thoughts and comments. 

My Blog: "I Hated Myself"

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A few weeks ago I was leaving church and a woman comes up to me and says “I love your hair, I wish my husband would allow me to wear my hair like that.” I thanked her for the compliment but then I digested what she said. It is not the first time I have heard women talk of how their husbands or significant others do not like them to wear their natural hair texture; but this is the first time I really pondered the totality of that concept.

My first reaction was of distain for her husband and all other husbands out there who hate their woman’s natural hair texture; and then I dug a little deeper. I realized that like the husbands that hated their wives naturally textured hair, I too at one time hated my own hair. On the surface it didn’t appear that way. For years I straightened by hair religiously. Starting from age 12 when I got my first relaxer; to age 16 going natural but then relaxing again because I couldn’t get my hair straight enough; to age 24 deciding to go relaxer free but continuing to straighten my hair until I burned whatever trace of my natural texture that existed. I remember for years seeing women with naturally textured hair and thinking to myself “Oh that looks cute, but it is not for me.” How could I honestly look myself in the face and say that my God given hair texture was not for me? That was the hair that God so preciously picked out for me, along with my physique, my humor and the many other things that make me uniquely special. Yes, it sounds ridiculous when you put in that context, but it is true.

The issue much deeper than a particular hairstyle, was the fact that for a majority of my life I did not believe I was beautiful unless my hair was something else. I only believed I was beautiful if my hair was straight. Straight, flipped and curled looking like a mainstream model on the cover of some magazine. Those were the only times I believed in my own beauty, and that revelation was startling. It wasn’t until recently when I cut the last of my damaged hair off, and finally after many years saw my natural texture and I cried. I couldn’t believed that I tried so hard to stifle all this awesome hair, and that I was in fact beautiful just being me. This was not about a natural hair movement, main stream ideas of beauty or anything like that, it was about me and my identity. The ways I had subconsciously believed my beauty existed in one very narrow definition. I wept, because I realized for so long I tried to deny who I truly was.

I began to have compassion for that husband. I realized that maybe like me, he had this very narrow view of beauty and his view was based on the environment and culture that we live in. It wasn’t until I experienced the full circle moment for myself that I understood what it meant to hate myself.

This post is bigger then my hair it has to do with life. There are many narrow views of success, love and beauty that we define our lives by that challenge the very nature of who we are meant to be. Unless we endeavor to take a journey upon a road less traveled to redefine everything we think about ourselves, then and only then will we see who we truly are. Self hate is real, and it manifest itself in so many ways like never saving money and always struggling, to starting relationships with people who are destructive to staying at a dead end job because we don’t believe we deserve success. Our narrow view of what is good keeps us in a prison of self hate. Break free and redefine your life! You are special, unique and beautiful; there is no one on earth like you or was created to do that thing that you are here to do!

Have you overcome self hate? Is there something in your life you are struggling to love about yourself? Share your thoughts and comments below. 

Posted on March 4, 2014 and filed under My Blog.